But time to move came nigh and in the residential regions of a metropolis like Berkeley I was certain I could obtain ISDN, as well as delivered pizza. So I started the search, consulting Dan Kegel's ISDN home page. From there I found lists of the supposed ISDN providers in the Bay Area.
I already knew what I wanted to purchase -- see I'm a little smarter than the average isp customer. I was sick of living at the far end of v.34 and wanted the speed of a 2-B ISDN connection on a centrex link so we could keep the line up 24-7. (Or use 2-way demand dial to keep us up as much as need be.)
Sorting through web pages ugly and unwieldy (how some of these companies expect people to find the service they're looking for is beyond me), I finally resorted to mailing the sales departments with my specific desires. Some companies had small and effective pages (scruz, prado), others (mediacity) ... well lets not get into it.
24-7 dedicated LAN connection, minumum of 15 ip #s or a class C address. 2-B centrex ISDN. Please cite your setup, and monthly fees and indicate if pac bell charges are included in those numbers.Even this was too difficult for some people:
>I also want to confirm that your ISDN service is indeed a dedicated >connection. So far, your prices are among the lowest I've found, beating >others by roughly $1K at the end of two years. Well, dedicated is not really the right word. Basically how it works is: [dial on demand from inside and not outside the domain]The responses also began to look grim:
Unfortunately we don't have ISDN Centrex to that area. We do offer ISDN dialup to that area though. Unfortunately, we only offer ISDN access in the southern California area right now (not even Northern Cal.). You are outside our curent centrex isdn area, but located as you are in Berkeley, I expect that there will be other providers who can help you. That address is definitely outside our zone. It's close, but no cigar! The edge of the zone is Cedar St. and you're just a bit too far north for it. CRL does not support ISDN. Thank you for your interest in Nothing But Net. Unfortunately at this time we do not have an ISDN centrex in Berkeley. It appears that you are outside of our cenrex - if you give me your phone number at the location I will double check it for you. Unfortunately, we do not currently provide Centrex in your location, but we do provide local calling service. Looks like it's just over the line on the wrong side ...And uglier:
We have several reasons for doing this. One is that Pac*Hell is unwilling to allow us to class a PRI in one of our POPs as Centrex. This is frustrating, since some Bay Area ISPs seem to be able to get away with this.Many ISPs could be eliminated right off because they charged an insane $500 or more a month for 2-B service. Most charged between $325 and $400. Some are under the impression that their setup time is worth $1000. Most charged between $350 and $800.
From ~20 ISPs came two that might support centrex to my area. One other asked to mail them back if I was unable to find it in my area. The 2 year cost from transbay is $11100, and $11950 from DNAI. These were still better options than the alternatives: $12510 for 56k frame, $15235 for metered ISDN, and $17460 for 128k frame.
transbay isn't certain that I'm in their centrex area, and DNAI is more expensive because they claim pacbell won't let them use a PRI as centrex. I can't think about metered ISDN because pac bell wants to eliminate the flat rate nighttime calling that makes it even BEGIN to break even. So maybe DNAI will be able to give me the service I want. Maybe. This isn't how it was in those magazine articles. But then I haven't started calling about pizza either. Which brings us to the bottom line --
ISDN isn't ready for serious home use.